FujiLove Magazine “Sky” Assignment Winner

· 25.April.2020

Gabor Vaszkun is the winner of the March 2020 FujiLove Magazine “Sky” photo assignment. Here comes Gabor’s story behind his winning photograph.

I like watching all these stunning astrophotography pictures. I have read a lot about how these are made and however no one here on Earth can be granted those perfect conditions naturally given to Hubble, I thought that a nice start could be to take a photograph of the Milky Way. It can’t be so hard after all, can it?

I live in Budapest and because of the light pollution the stars are hardly visible from the city. So I was always looking forward to the countryside trips or the holidays in the hills, the nights are much darker over there, what else do I need?

The nights were darker there for sure….because it was always raining or it was foggy, during the day there was beautiful sunshine, but during the night the sky became cloudy, or it was just full Moon. I was waiting for the ideal conditions for years.

During last year’s holiday we stayed at a small vineyard in the countryside, where finally everything came together. The Milky Way was clearly visible even with the naked eye and perceiving for the first time how much more data your camera “sees” during a long exposure shot was amazing! It was also quite shocking to realize how the streetlights from the neighboring villages impact the exposure.

I imagined a classic panorama picture where the Milky Way bends form one end to the other, but since I was not sure which part I will use exactly I thought that safest would be to make a 360 degree panorama and decide the cropping at home. Shutter speed was 15 sec, ISO 6400 and however I used a 12 mm lens I must have set the overlapping way too large between the pictures because I ended up needing 49 frames for the whole panorama.

While I was playing with the projection settings on the next day I liked this straight version much better. What you see in the final picture is not the whole sky, just the middle slice of it and having the horizon on both sides makes me feel that I am still there in the vineyard lying in the grass and staring at the shining stars.

It was a fun and long experience to take this picture. I also like it because it brings back memories not only from the holiday in the vineyard but also from the ones where the stars were not visible at all.